Lufkin woman acquitted on co-sleeping death charge gets 10 years probation for drug charges

Vanessa Clark (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Vanessa Clark (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Tuesday afternoon,Vanessa Lynn Clark told an Angelina County judge all she wants is to be abetter person and for people to see her differently. Now, she has that chance.

"Vanessa Clark hopes to move forward and further improve herself and become a productive citizen," said John Reeves, her defense attorney.

Judge Paul White sentenced Clark, who was convicted and later acquitted on appeal in the death of her infant child, to 10 years probation for five counts of prescription fraud.

"She accepted full responsibility of her actions as charged," Reeves said.

Vanessa Clark, 35, White's 159th Judicial Court Tuesday morning. Back in April 2013, Vanessa Clark accepted a plea bargain deal. In exchange for pleading guilty to the five counts, the remaining 13 counts were dropped.

When Vanessa Clark appealed the guilty verdict in the 2010 death of her infant son, the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler issued a judgment of acquittal in the case in November 2013.

The text of the judgment stated that in her appeal, Vanessa Clark contented that "the evidence is insufficient to sustain her conviction for endangering her son, Tristan" and that "the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the previous death of her son, Christian."

"We reverse the judgment of the trial court and render a judgment of acquittal," the appeals court judgment stated.

An Angelina grand jury indicted Vanessa on the 18 counts and her husband, Mark Wayne Clark, 34, on 29 counts of prescription fraud in November 2012.

The Clarks went to trial separately in 2012 in connection to their infant son's death in 2010. It was their second son to die as a result of them sleeping with it. According to courtroom testimony, both Clarks used prescription drugs in 2010.

A jury found Vanessa Clark guilty of child endangerment in April 2012. District Judge Paul White sentenced her to 119 months in prison. She is out of prison on a $100,000 appeal bond.

A jury found Mark Clark not guilty of the same charge in May 2012. Court testimony revealed he did not know the infant was in bed with him when the child died.

Vanessa Clark's indictment alleges she misrepresented herself on nine occasions in order to obtain hydrocodone and on eight occasions to obtain Xanax.

Mark Clark's indictment alleges he misrepresented himself on 15 occasions to obtain hydrocodone and on 14 occasions to obtain Xanax.

Mark Clark pleaded guilty to five of the prescription fraud charges on April 30, 2013. In exchange for his guilty plea, the remaining 24 charges were dropped. He was sentenced to 119 months in state prison in July 2013.

Last November, Mark Clark's sentence was changed to shock probation, and he was released from prison.

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